By Line Abrahamian
Reader's Digest, Canada Edition October 2006
The Armenian Genocide almost annihilated my ancestors. How could I not hate Turks?
When I heard in April that Turkey threatened economic sanctions against Canada and recalled its ambassador because Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly recognized the Armenian Genocide, all the anger I've felt towards Turks came rushing back. Why do they use scare tactics on anyone who acknowledges that, between 1915 and 1923, the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in the first genocide of the 20th century? Twenty-one countries have recognized it, and the European Union has been urging Turkey to face up to its past if it wants to join. I know you should never hate, but how else am I supposed to feel about a nation that tried to annihilate my ancestors-and is still denying it?
Instinctively I cringed when a co-worker first told me his wife was Turkish. As an Armenian-Canadian, I'd been raised with stories of the Genocide. I was five when I first saw a black-and white photo from the massacre, of a crying Armenian boy so emaciated his ribs were sticking out. That kid could've been me. So at age five, I decided to hate all Turks. At my Armenian school in Montreal, the worst insult you could hurl at another kid wasn't a four-letter word, it was "Turk lover."
Three years ago, at 28, I met my co-worker's wife. She was the first Turkish person I had ever met. I shook her hand and smiled. She was lovely, but when we sat down and talked, it was not about the past.
And that bothered me. I think I expected her to apologize profusely for what her ancestors did in 1915 or to slam her government for nearly a century of denial. She didn't. So I decided to hate her, too.
It might have been irrational, but I wasn't alone in feeling this way. When I asked an educated Jewish woman how she felt whenever she met a German, she offered up a guilty smile. "Whenever I meet an older German, I wonder, Were you the one who pushed my aunt into the oven? And if it's a young German, I can't help but think, Did your grandparents kill any Jews during the Holocaust? In my mind, I know I shouldn't feel this anger. But my heart won't let me forgive."
This, even after Germany apologized and made restitutions. All over the world, Holocaust deniers are shunned and put on trial. Yet Turkey has gotten away with denying the Genocide for 91 years because most of the world doesn't know that before Sudan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Nazi Germany, the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in massacres and deportation marches through the deserts of Mesopotamia (parts of today's Turkey, Syria and Iraq). Many people don't even know what an Armenian is-"So you speak Arabic?" "No, I speak Armenian." "Right. Your country is Russia." "No, my country is Armenia." The victims are largely unmourned. And last year Turkey dragged its most renowned novelist, Orhan Pamuk, to court for "insulting Turkishness" after he was quoted as saying a million Armenians were killed in his country.
Can you blame me for holding a grudge?
I walk into Manoug Khatchadourian's apartment and hug him. We've never met, yet I feel an instant connection. Manoug, 104, is a Genocide survivor.
He asks me to make Armenian coffee, expecting that since I'm Armenian, I must know how to brew it-like baking choereg (Armenian bread) or cooking dolma (stuffed vegetables). I don't. Still, I have a go, but it turns out thick and gloppy. Manoug takes a sip and cringes, not subtly. I smile apologetically. But he has survived far worse than bad coffee.
My eyes fix on a painting above Manoug's head. A Turkish soldier is stabbing an Armenian woman. Another is ripping a baby from his pleading mother's arms. An Armenian mother is cradling her dead daughter.
"How could I not hate them?" says Manoug, his body trembling. "They killed our mothers, fathers, children! No, I can't forgive them. I still live it today." His mind races back to a day in his childhood, on the deportation march in Mesopotamia, in July 1915.
"Have you seen Mama?" 13-year-old Manoug asked pleadingly, but the haggard Armenians mutely trudged past him, their tongues lolling, and threw themselves into a puddle of rain mingled with animal urine.
They hadn't had a drop for two days. Manoug had wriggled through the throng to fetch water for his family but had now lost them. "Have you seen Mama?" he asked anyone who would listen. But no one had.
The caravan set off once more. It had been four weeks since they'd been dragged from their homes in Kharpert, and every day marchers died of hunger, thirst, heat-or the dagger of a guard. Now Manoug was alone.
Suddenly a band of Turkish and Kurdish marauders came riding down with a roar. The frightened marchers scattered, but many were trampled under crushing hooves. Horsemen snatched up pretty girls and looted marchers; a few fell on a woman and began breaking out her gold teeth with a hammer.
Then a Turk started chasing Manoug. The boy ran, but his legs were weak. His assailant caught up, throwing Manoug to the ground, beating him fiercely with his bayonet, then stripping off his clothes.
Bloody and naked, Manoug staggered behind a boulder and collapsed.
Some Armenian boys rushed to help him. "Leave me," Manoug breathed.
"I've lost my family. This is where I want to die."
The phone rings in Manoug's apartment. As he answers it, I think, How could he not hate the Turks? My eyes stray back to the painting. I hate them all over again.
As I enter the Ararat carpet store in Montreal, I can almost hear the giggle of my six-year-old self, climbing up carpet mountains and through carpet tunnels with store owner Kerop Bedoukian while Dad was with clients.
"This place hasn't changed much since you were last here, has it?"
asks Kerop's son, Harold, who inherited Ararat when Kerop died in 1981. But it has. The carpets are neatly displayed on the floor instead of rolled into fun tunnels for the pint-sized and pigtailed.
Kerop's office looks different, but his original desk is still there.
And tucked in a bookshelf is The Urchin, the book he wrote about his experiences on the deportation march. When I was a girl, I had no idea the man who playfully scaled carpet hills with me had climbed different kinds of mountains in the summer of 1915.
Nine-year-old Kerop couldn't remember the last time they were allowed to rest. They clambered up yet another mountain, flanked by a steep drop. His eyes were fixed on a donkey swaying dangerously under its load. It lost its footing and toppled over the edge. The boy peeked down to see if donkeys land like cats do. They don't. But he wondered why the lady who'd been leading it hadn't let go of its halter when it fell. So many marchers tripped and toppled, reminding Kerop of shooting stars.
It was almost dusk. Still they ploughed on. Kerop noticed a Turkish guard creep over. He seemed intensely interested in someone in the caravan. The guard quickened his pace, slunk deep into the crowd-and pounced on a girl, drag-ging her behind a boulder as she kicked and screamed. Soon, the guard reappeared, pulling up his pants, and strode away. Kerop waited for the girl to emerge, too. But she didn't. She must have been 15.
"I hated them for destroying an innocent and beautiful girl," Kerop later wrote in The Urchin.
Harold tells me now, "That was the first time my dad said he felt hatred for Turks. But he didn't hate all Turks." His family had Turkish friends who trudged with them as far as they could on the deportation road, Harold explains. "I'm less generous in my anger than he was. Still, your generation seems to feel the strongest. When my son was ten, he came home one day with 'Death to all Turks' written on his arm. We were stunned. We'd told him about the Genocide but hadn't taught him to hate."
Every April 24-Genocide commemoration day-thousands of Armenians converge in front of the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa and chant, "Recognize the Genocide!"
I was there as a five-year-old. At that age, do we even know what we're fighting for? We do. Every one of the 27 years she has been a teacher at an Armenian kindergarten, my mom has taught children about the Genocide.
I ask her if she thinks five is too young to hear about this. "You have to put it in their blood early on," she says, "otherwise they won't grow up with that fire in their belly to fight for our cause.
That's what we did with you."
"So would I be less loyal to my heritage if I didn't hate Turks?" I ask her.
"Yes," my mom replies unflinchingly.
"So it's okay for me to hate another human being?"
"No, not just anyone," she says. "But after what they did, how could you not hate a Turk?"
"But is it fair not to distinguish between the generations?" I venture.
"Fair?" she snaps. "When they were massacring the Armenians, did they distinguish between the women, the children, the elderly? And today's Turk is just as bad, for denying it happened."
I'm watching the documentary The Genocide in Me, in which 32-year-old Armenian-Canadian filmmaker Araz Artinian tries to understand her father's obsession with his heritage through a personal journey that leads her back to the roots of it all.
Five-year-old Vartan Hartunian clutched his father's hand as Turkish soldiers herded hundreds of Armenians into a church in Marash, in the southern Ottoman Empire. Suddenly, horrifying shouts issued from nearby. Vartan peered outside and saw Turkish soldiers pouring kerosene on a neighbouring church and setting it on fire, ignoring the cries of the men, women and children inside.
A woman emerged from the flames. A soldier shot her down. The fire soon silenced the voices within the church.
Now, inside Vartan's church, thick smoke was filling the air. The men madly tried to contain the blaze, but it was too wild. Suddenly, bullets whizzed overhead-Turkish soldiers had opened fire. The Armenians flung themselves to the floor, but the gunfire intensified.
There was no escape. Tears streaming down his face, Vartan's father huddled with his family and cried, "My dear ones, don't be frightened, soon all of us will be in heaven together."
"I'll never forget that," Vartan, 86, recalls. His voice trails off.
The camera keeps rolling. A moment later Artinian asks, "Do you hate the Turks?"
I listen closely, expecting to hear "Of course! They tried to burn us alive!"
"No," he says. "I don't hate the Turks. Hatred is like putting poison in your own psyche. If you hate a Turk, you don't hurt a Turk; you hurt yourself. My criticism of the Turks is in their [government's] official denial of the Armenian Genocide. I think this hurts the Turks because it prevents them from coming up into the class of civilized nations who are admitting past errors. I don't feel angry.
I feel sorry for them.
"Armenians must learn that there are good Turks, and many Armenians will testify that Turks helped them survive. Unless we break through the walls of hatred, the question of Genocide is never going to be resolved."
I couldn't believe it. How could this survivor feel no hatred, yet I do?
Since my first meeting with his wife had soured, my co-worker found me a new Turkish friend. Born in Istanbul, she moved to Canada three years ago. "You're going to love her!" he said. I doubted it.
I call her, and she immediately invites me to her apartment. Walk into the enemy's turf? "Sure, I'll see you soon," I say hesitantly.
I knock on her door, and a short brunette with a warm smile opens it.
"Come in," she stretches out an enthusiastic hand. The apartment is Bohemian and homey-save for a mannequin in her living room. She chuckles, saying she often dresses it and it has become part of the family.
I laugh-I never imagined a Turk could have a sense of humour. My anxiety melts. I tell her of my reservations about coming over and ask if she feels any animosity towards Armenians.
The woman (who agreed to use her name but later changed her mind) tells me her parents never brought her up to hate, but in school there was an implicit hatred. She hadn't even heard about the Genocide there; no teacher dared talk about it, and history books taught them that during World War I, the Armenians were stirring for independence, revolting against an already crumbling Ottoman Empire by joining forces with the Russians. So in self-defence the Ottoman Turks "relocated" these rebellious Armenians.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. If they were deporting the "rebellious" Armenians, why deport women and children? Why were Armenians deprived of food and water? Why were girls raped and babies killed? If they were being "relocated," why had most Armenians in the Ottoman Empire disappeared?
I finally find my voice. "How did they justify what happened on the deportation marches?"
"They say, 'It was wartime, you have to accept that.' But," she presses on, "I found myself questioning, Why are we supposed to hate Armenians? If [their deaths] were a terrible consequence of a terrible war, why cover it up?"
She found the answers in university, during the classes taught by influential Turkish historian, Halil Berktay.
"Then it started to dawn on me that it really was genocide," she reveals. "I realized there wasn't one single interpretation of history, as the nationalist ideology claimed. What do nationalist leaders do? They choose a scapegoat. In this case, the Armenians. The other side is, the Ottomans were responsible for what went wrong, which is true, but the government is having a hard time saying that because the Ottomans are where we come from; how can we be associated with murderers?"
"Has any Armenian told you, 'Your ancestors killed my ancestors'?" I ask.
"No. And if they did, I don't know how I'd react. If you dismiss me like that, you're closing dialogue forever."
The problem, she says, is the majority thinks the Ottomans back then are the same as Turks today. "Now when I meet an Armenian, I feel like making an explanation that I'm not associated with Ottoman Turks or people who deny the Genocide."
I must have a look on my face somewhere between admiration and confusion that Turks like her exist: She asks, "Hasn't it occurred to you that not all Turks are bad? That there might be Turks who recognize the Genocide?"
"Honestly...no," I reply.
She tells me there are more of them than I think. "Then, why don't we hear more from you guys?" I ask heatedly.
"When you talk about this in Turkey, there's the danger of going to prison or being persecuted. But I do feel responsible for doing something in Turkey to open up discussion."
Still, many Turkish youth know nothing about the Genocide, "because the only side they've been exposed to is what's in their history books," she says. "Should they be blamed? Perhaps, for not being curious about all sides, for blindly accepting as truth what they're being told."
We talk for hours, about everything from the Genocide to our careers to relationships. As I leave, she asks, "It was strange to hear that you hated all Turks. So when you meet a Turk you actually like, do you start questioning hating all of them?"
The word Turk still sends chills up my spine. But when I left the young Turkish woman's apartment, I didn't hate her.
In her I no longer saw that soldier in Manoug's painting, ripping the baby from his mother's arms; I saw a friend.
But later, when she told me she couldn't be part of this article, my heart sank. My first instinct was to dismiss her as being "like every other Turk." But then I read that another Turkish scholar is facing trial for referring to the Genocide in her book. How can I dismiss an entire nation when there are some fighting for us? How can I hate a Turk who tells me she's striving for Genocide recognition-even if it's in the privacy of her living room?
I'm not ready to say I don't hate Turks in general. But I don't want to hate. I don't want to teach my kids to hate. In this violent world, I don't want to believe blind hatred is the solution.
Hopefully that makes me no less of an Armenian-but more human.
14 September 2006 Talking With Turks and Armenians about the Genocide By Line Abrahamian
“My Journey From Hate to Hope” in the October issue of Reader’s Digest is my attempt to deal with the hatred I’ve felt for Turks because of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that killed 1.5 million men, women and children. Here, I speak with some Turks and some well-known Armenians about the Genocide.
In 2005 the first conference on the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks took place in Istanbul. However, just as these voices were being raised, others were trying to silence them. “This conference was first postponed because there were threats against us, and when it did finally happen, people accused us of being traitors and threw eggs,” says novelist Elif Shafak. “But the fact that it even took place is a sign that things are changing in Turkey in a positive direction. But the bigger the change, the deeper the panic of those who want to preserve status quo. That’s why the Turkish judiciary is bringing us to court one by one.
“There are four approaches among Turks regarding the 1915 atrocities,” Shafak explains. “The most common is ignorance and collective amnesia. The second is deliberate rejection and denial. That viewpoint is shared by a smaller group, but their voices are louder because they’re in influential positions. The third is shared by Turkish youth, who say: ‘Whatever happened is in the past. Why am I being held responsible for something my grandfather did, if he did it?’ The fourth is shared by intellectuals and open-minded people like myself. We need to face our past, because the past lives within the present. Only then can our society become democratic. If we had brought to justice those guilty of the massacres and atrocities in the past, it would’ve been harder for the state to oppress other minorities and critical voices.”
There are now about 60 writers and publishers before the Turkish courts. Most recently Shafak, for her book The Bastard of Istanbul, which refers to the massacres. Why does Turkey have a hard time acknowledging the Genocide? “They believe you can’t slander the Turkish nation by putting it on the same level as the Nazis,” explains Taner Akçam, visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota. “There’s also a fear of consequences—that Turkey will have to pay compensation in land and money. But I think their primary fear is psychological. Armenians are a constant reminder of Turkey’s most traumatic historical event—the collapse of their empire. The Turks think of themselves as the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Armenians. Some of the founders of the Turkish state were members of the party who organized the Genocide. And the Turks have glorified them as heroes. If you call them murderers or thieves, you question the very existence of the state and identity. “But Turkish society wants to know what really happened in 1915. And for the first time in history, it’s breaking its silence to challenge the official state rhetoric.” This may be due to the books circulating in Turkey about the Genocide. The man responsible for publishing many of them: Ragip Zarakolu. He now stands on trial for publishing two books on the massacres.
“I learned about the Genocide through my mother,” recalls Zarakolu. “In 1915 Turkish soldiers collected her Armenian neighbours. While the Armenians were crying in the streets, my mother and her family were crying inside their homes. Her grandmother saved two Armenian girls from deportation, but soldiers later picked them up again. This made a big impression on me.”
Zarakolu and his late wife, Ayse Nur, founded Belge International Publishing House in Istanbul in 1977 and have published ten books on the Armenians. “The first book was Yves Ternon’s History of a Genocide, in 1993. It was banned and confiscated, and we were accused of making terrorist propaganda. My wife was sentenced to two years in prison. In 1994, our office was firebombed. Now I’m on trial. The state fears these books will open discussion in Turkey, but that has already begun. These books have helped change the minds of Turkish intellectuals, and now there are more courageous people in Turkey.”
That’s crucial in this struggle for recognition, says Fatma Müge Göçek, associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. “It’s important for Turks like us to speak out because only then will Turkish society listen. If we close ranks with the Armenians, then what nationalists see isn’t the other—it’s the Turk with the Armenian. “As long as human rights are important to the world, I don’t see anything short of recognition emerging,” says Göçek. “At least that’s what I, as a human being, strive for. Whether it happens in my lifetime, I cannot tell. But at least I’ll leave this place and this problem in a better condition than I found it in.”
Canadian and American Armenians have also been touched by the Genocide. Here is what some of them have to say:
Canadian director Atom Egoyan, whose movie Ararat, about the Genocide, won a Genie for best movie.
“I was doing a film review of Midnight Express for a student paper. Outside the theatre, Turkish students were giving out pamphlets refuting the images in the film. And that was a trigger for me. I became really involved politically and wrote the script for Ararat. But I wasn’t ready to turn it into a movie: I was full of rage and demonized Turks who hadn’t come to terms with this. I didn’t know that there’s a generation of Turks who know nothing about this. If there’s to be dialogue, we have to understand the overwhelming nature of the admission for a people who’ve had no preparation from their government. We can’t just expect someone to accept they’re genocidal. “Can a human-rights transgression that happened so long ago and has been systematically denied be brought to justice? That’s the enduring question. Do these things go away with time? I don’t think they do.”
Canadian singer Isabel Bayrakdarian.
“My father’s father was forced to march in the desert. He survived, but his wife and two-year-old son died of starvation. My mom’s parents also survived. Turks captured her grandfather and tortured him by pressing a branding iron all over his body. He escaped but was later killed.
“So I grew up with this fierce loyalty to my culture and this need to know what my grandparents went through to make sure I remain Armenian. That’s what colours my singing. When I sing the Armenian song “Deleyaman,” non-Armenian musicians have told me, ‘I don’t know what it is about that song, but it broke my heart.’ It was written as a love song, but after the Genocide, the lyrics ‘I miss my beloved’ acquired a different meaning. ‘I miss my beloved’ not because he’s late from tending the sheep in the mountains. No, he was massacred.
“My mother’s the reason I have such a strong Armenian identity. I saw so much fire in her that this tragedy had happened and still isn’t recognized, but that as long as we don’t forget, we will have justice.
“The pain will never heal because this was a plot to annihilate us. The fact that I’m here and singing Armenian songs, it’s like rising from the ashes and rebuilding.” American musician Serj Tankian from System of a Down, an Armenian band that is the subject of Screamers, a documentary about their worldwide campaign for Genocide recognition.
“My grandfather and grandmother are survivors of the Genocide. My grandmother has passed away, but my grandfather is still alive—he’s 96. He was five during the Genocide. His father, uncles and grandfather were taken away to a ‘work camp’ but were exterminated. Later Turkish soldiers took him and others out of their village. They were robbed, raped, starved and some were killed. He lost his eyesight for two weeks “When I heard these stories, my heart opened up and I felt like crying. It’s mind-blowing that man could do that to man in the 20th century. Any time you allow an injustice to occur, you’re encouraging others to think they can get away with it. Hitler did. And genocide is still occurring in Darfur. It’s ridiculous! We haven’t learned our lessons. “Some of our songs, like ‘Pluck’ and ‘Holy Mountains,’ touch upon the Genocide and the victims and are in homage to them. It’s part of our lives; it’s a part of who we are. “I’m blown away by Turks who say they’re not only fans of our music but also of the stand we take and what we talk about. It means the tide is turning, that we’re breaking through barriers—and people are realizing the truth.”
Reader’s Digest Magazines Canada Ltd.
Can We Spare Room for Hatred?.
Living in a friendly world sounds like a good idea. However, Diaspora Armenians openly perpetuate racial hatred. See the article penned by Line Abrahamian which can be found at readersdigest.ca/mag/2006/10/hate_to_hope.php.
Here are some excerpts from that article; “Every one of the 27 years she has been a teacher at an Armenian kindergarten; my mom has taught children about the Genocide. I ask her if she thinks five is too young to hear about this. “You have to put it in their blood early on,” she says, “otherwise they won’t grow up with that fire in their belly to fight for our cause. That’s what we did with you.” “So would I be less loyal to my heritage if I didn’t hate Turks?” I ask her. “Yes,” my mom replies unflinchingly. “So it’s okay for me to hate another human being?” “No, not just anyone,” she says. “But after what they did, how could you not hate a Turk?” “But is it fair not to distinguish between the generations?” I venture. “Fair?” she snaps. “When they were massacring the Armenians, did they distinguish between the women, the children, the elderly? And today’s Turk is just as bad, for denying it happened.”
Line Abrahamian speaks at a cocktail party for the Reader's Digest, Canada; its editor-in-chief (Peter Stockland, in all likelihood) stands behind her. Ms. Abrahamian has written several articles for the Reader's Digest, and appears to enjoy a strong "in," allowing such genocide propaganda to sail through in mainstream publications.
Line Abrahamian expresses surprise because an elderly friend of hers who lived through those hard times does not feel hatred, but she does. Her elderly friend says; “Armenians must learn that there are good Turks, and many Armenians will testify that Turks helped them survive. Unless we break through the walls of hatred, the question of Genocide is never going to be resolved.”
Brainwashed hatred must be worse than first hand experience of anguish. As a Turk whose grand father was killed by Armenian bandits in 1916, should I hate back all Armenians? In fact, from 1910 to 1923 Turks found themselves attacked by Greek, French, Russian, English and even Australian forces. All Christian States descended on the Turks to share the land of the dying Ottoman Empire. As such, Turks were kicked out of the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa. Every Turkish family has more than one story to tell about the atrocities their ancestors faced in the hands of invading savages. Were the Turks mistaken to extend olive branches to their old enemies for the following 90 years?
Armenia – A Destabilizing Aggressor in the Region
One visit to Line Abrahamian’s volunteer project norjraberd.org/NJpowerpoint.ppt reveals that she is involved in an organized effort to grab more land from the Azerbaijani territory. In their site, the Armenians are shown as innocent fundraisers for the needy who are trying to settle in their homeland. There is no mention that the Armenians are trying to settle on recently invaded Azeri territory. Atrocities on Azeri civilians caused by the 1992 attack of Armenia are cleverly concealed in her web site, so let’s follow the actual historical background from the 2002 book; “ARMENIA: Secrets of a “Christian” Terrorist State” by Samuel A. Weems, a US District Attorney and Judge (ISBN: 0-9719212-3-7,).
“In 1991 ten countries of the former Soviet Union had met and organized the Commonwealth of Independent States in Minsk, Belarus. Three of the states were Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Less than one year later, the promises of the Russians and Armenians became meaningless as they invaded Azerbaijan. Russia gave the Armenians more than one billion US dollars in military armaments and equipment (84 of their top of the line battle tanks, 50 armored personnel carriers, 24 Stud missiles and other unnamed military equipment) to use in the invasion of neighbor Azerbaijan. Soldiers of the Russian 366th combat regiment took part in the Armenian invasion. The United States press witnessed the Armenian/Russian massacre of thousands of unarmed Azerbaijani civilians during the first two weeks of March 1992. One million poor Azerbaijani souls have been living in refugee camps since then — these one million individuals lived through a war of Armenian “terrorism” and they are the recent victims of Armenian aggression.
Shortly after the surprise joint Armenian/Russian attack on Azerbaijan — the United Nations Security Council passed four Resolutions (822), (853), (874) and (884) reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inviolability of international borders. The UN called upon the Armenians to withdraw from Azerbaijan a total of five times. However, the Armenians and their Russian supporters refuse to honor the UN demand to withdraw from Azerbaijan and Armenia continues, after more than ten years, to illegally hold more than 20% of the lands of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has never had a single soldier in Armenia; however, the United States Congress passed a law stating that Azerbaijan used “offensive force.” in self-defense of its country. The US Congress stated that this was a terrible thing for Azerbaijan to do in attempting to protect itself.
The Armenian lobby within the United States gives many millions of dollars to American members of congress each and every election campaign year. The Azerbaijanis have no such lobby organization at all within the United States. This is the reason the Armenians were able to get this law passed and this is why Armenia received more than $1.5 billion in US foreign aid over the past ten years while they hold Azerbaijan lands they captured and stole by armed force.
It is because of the Armenian lobby that the United States ignores the five United Nations Resolutions calling on Armenia to withdraw from Azerbaijan. Also sad but true is the fact that the United States hands over to Armenia more than an average of $100 million dollars each year as foreign aid. The American government should not give the terrorist state of Armenia one penny until such time as they obey the United Nations resolutions and depart from the Azerbaijan lands they stole by armed force” writes the honorable Judge Sam Weems.
The Republic of Armenia founded in 1991, after the dissolving of USSR lays claims on territory belonging to the Turkish Republic as well. Mount Ararat, the highest peak in Anatolia, which is located inside Turkey is symbolized on Armenia’s Presidential flag. Can you imagine the Eiffel Tower placed on the flag of Germany or Britain? However impoverished this small country with a flagrant economy, they refer to Eastern Turkey as Western Armenia.
Similar provocations are too long to list. Thanks to the Turkish Army which is a strong member of NATO, they could not advance into Eastern Anatolia, as they did into Azerbaijan’s Nagorny Karabakh Region.
Does it fit the UN Definition of “genocide”?
When examined without bias, the Turkish-Armenian conflict is in no way akin to the Nazi assault on the Jews and Gypsies who were considered racially inferior at the time, an event which led Rafael Lemkin to coin the term ‘genocide’. Upon Lemkin’s suggestion, protection of warring parties was excluded from the UN convention of genocide prevention, so the Armenians will lead you believe they were an innocent minority group during those times.
In reality, the Armenians took arms against the Muslim civilians of Anatolia during the chaos of World War 1 (1914-1918) and their strategic alliance with the invading armies (Russian, French and British) caused heavy casualties on the Ottoman Army. The relocation decision was clearly a defense measure in reaction to the minority Armenians’ savage attack in the Eastern Anatolian city of Van.
With distortions and false accusations a labyrinth of lies was built to blame the young Turkish Republic (founded in 1923). The relocation started on May 30 1915 with a decree from the Ottoman government, it was suspended with the onset of winter on November 25 1915, and completely stopped on February 8, 1916. The deportees were allowed to return back on voluntary basis with another decree by the Ottoman Government on December 31 1918.
According to American archive (NARA, T 1192, Roll 8; 86oJ.5811) dated April 26 1921, 644,900 of the deported Armenians returned back to Anatolia. According to UK archives (WO 158/933, No. 5796, 1, p.3) the total population of Armenians in 1914 was 773,430 in Anatolia. Therefore, the claim that 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turks in 1915 does not hold water.
The number of casualties cannot be counted for certain, but no one should doubt that hundreds of thousands of Turks were killed by Armenians and both parties suffered heavy casualties due to enemy attacks, typhoid and hunger. However, Armenians are portraying themselves as innocent victims, whilst trying to hide the Turkish casualties. Their reason for deliberate exaggeration of their dead is best explained by Ottoman History Professor Justin McCarthy of the University Louisville, Kentucky; “Any war sounds like a genocide if the dead of only one side is counted”.
Silencing the Truth
Many leaders who took responsible positions admitted in all earnest to the Armenians’ ambitious miscalculations of the early 1900’s. In this regard, it is worth mentioning Hovhannes Katchaznouni, the first Prime Minister of the Armenian Republic from 1918-1919. Even though, in 1890 he was among the founders of the Dashnagzoutiun Party, he stated the following observations to dissolve the party in 1923;
“It was a mistake of the Armenians to establish volunteer units to fight against the Ottoman Army or to ally with the Russians against the Ottoman Government”.
He concludes that the deportation of Armenians was a rightful measure taken by Turks in self-defense. He also mentions that the Armenians massacred Muslim populations. See Hovannes Katchaznouni “Dashnagzoutiun has nothing to do anymore, Kaynak Yayinlari, 2006, ISBN: 975-343-453-7. Even though 2000 copies of the original Armenian text of Katchaznouni’s manifesto were printed in Bucharest in 1923, they disappeared from world libraries no thanks to a deliberate campaign to destroy them. To this day, its publication is banned in the Republic of Armenia.
This past April, ANCA led a grassroots campaign to punish the Los Angeles Times Managing Editor, Douglas Frantz for putting a hold on a story written by Mr. Ajax, an Armenian-American reporter. Douglas Frantz explained his reasons as; “[I] put a hold on the story because of concerns that the reporter had expressed personal views about the topic in a public manner and therefore was not a disinterested party, which is required by our ethics guidelines, and because the reporter and an editor had gone outside the normal procedures for compiling and editing articles. My actions were based solely on the journalistic ethics and standards that we follow to ensure that readers of Times news coverage are not affected by the personal views of our reporters and editors."
Over 5,000 Armenians responded to he ANCA action alert and sent emails and letters calling for Frantz's resignation. In addition, the ANCA-WR, California Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian and other community representatives met with the publisher and senior Los Angeles Times management on multiple occasions during the last several months to convey the community's outrage regarding Frantz's “discriminatory” (in my opinion ‘unbiased’) actions. Mr. Frantz has resigned effective July 6th reported the Armenian National Committee of America- Western Region (ANCA-WR).
In 2006 the VP of the American Public Broadcasting Service, Jacoba Atlas, became the target of a similar Armenian hate Campaign because she dared to allow a debate between professors of both sides. The Armenians feared that it could somewhat counter balance the one sided Armenian propaganda films aired until then.
Currently, a letter campaign to protest the Hachette publishing company is organized, because, in their Blue Guide (travel book), with a passing sentence they mentioned, “The Armenians also killed many Kurds, during the early 1900’s”. They attempt to hide all Armenian wrong doing.
Numerous calls of the Turkish Government to research into historical events without bias, has fallen on deaf ears. The Armenian side seems to be searching for the slightest chance to call the 90 year old events as genocide, while silencing the mounting evidence which proves that Turks reacted in self defense.
Historical facts favoring the Turks were brought to the public attention as full page articles both in the New York Times and the Washington Post in May 1985. These facts were signed by 69 world known scholars who were experts in their field. Armenian Diaspora retorted to harsh intimidation as well as bombing the house of one historian. They do not like historians. They refuse to evaluate the facts.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism. It has spoken out against ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and genocide in Darfur; but in the long-standing dispute between the Armenians and the Turks, it has not accepted the Armenian claims of genocide. It is the main supporter of the “No Place for Hate” campaign which was recently awarded to Watertown Massachusetts, a town heavily populated by Armenians. Now the Armenians of Watertown are using the “No Place for Hatred” sign at the town hall to protest the ADL.
Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of ADL said he is surprised that he has become the new target of Armenians. "I'm not going to be the arbiter of someone else's history," he said in an interview, adding that he does not believe that the American Congress should either. When asked specifically if what happened to Armenians under the Ottoman Empire was genocide, he replied, "I don't know." The ADL only takes positions, he said, on current events, not on something that happened in the past.
Many politicians have voted in line with the false Armenian allegations in order to please their constituents. Many more are under bombardments of biased propaganda. The Turkish side of the truth is yet to be heard.
Hate is Dangerous
I watched a documentary showing the sub-human behavior of Armenians during their attack on Khojaly, Azerbaijan in 1992. Young men were screaming with joy after torturing their victims. Similar atrocities were reported during the Armenian uprising against the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900’s. It is really surprising that some of these butchers were later allowed to boast in US papers about their role in killing Turks as if it was their contribution towards a valuable cause.
There are confirmed stories of how Moslems’ heads were smashed with stones and later set ablaze, because Armenians did not want to waste bullets on them. The Armenian bandits spent time to carve limbs of thousands of Muslims (including babies) and meticulously stacked the dead bodies.
The obvious dual standard continues to favor the Christian Armenian Americans’ aggression to this day. The media is flooded with one sided propaganda material. The Turks have become targets of undeserved hatred.
Although her professional duty as a journalist requires her to examine all sides of a story, Line Abrahamian has, alas, been too indoctrinated with hatred; she can only view her "genocide" with religious fervor.
Even if it is the only way to keep the Diaspora from assimilation, hatred should not be taught because it can get out of hand. Line Abrahamian’s mother must be aware that mature people could see the flaws in her story, so she chose to brainwash her students at the tender age of 5.
Testament that hate, lives for centuries comes from Simon Winchester’s book of 1999 “The Fracture Zone: A Return to the Balkans”. The Serbians who killed some Kosovo Albanians in 1986 by severing off their heads with an axe or cutting their breeding organs with a razor blade, declared their reasons as their revenge of their ancestors’ death during the Kosovo War of 1389 against the Turks. What kept alive their hatred towards their Muslim neighbors for 600 years who shared the same language and were of the same race?
My grandmother told me stories seem to overrule reason and morals. This is why breeding hatred should be stopped for good.
In all fairness, all parties should examine the historical events of the decaying Ottoman Empire without bias.
August 6, 2007
Kayseri – Turkey